Hey there friends!
How’s your week going? I got back from my cousin’s wedding in Michigan late Tuesday night, and it was so much fun catching up with my mum, sister and extended family. The ceremony was gorgeous, the reception was a ton of fun, and the food was awesome.
This was actually the first time I’ve seen my sister in a year and a half, and it always makes me laugh how we can live so far apart, yet pick up exactly where we left off last time when it comes to conversation. As kids, we often used to get dressed for the day in our bedrooms, then walk out to discover that we were both wearing the exact same colours. I always argued that because I was up earlier and dressed first that she was the one who would have to change, but when that happened this weekend, we just rocked the twinsie look.
In the downtime between the ceremony and other family gatherings, my mum, sister and I did a little bit of exploring around the area of our hotel. We set out in the car hoping we might find a mall, even though none of us admitted it. (Women, especially the ones in my family, can always justify a shopping trip.) Instead, we managed to find ourselves inside Meijer.
For those of you who don’t live in the US, Meijer is a really big store, very much like Wal Mart with everything from groceries and clothes to iPods and goldfish – both the cheesy cracker and living pet varieties. As a foodie, I take great pleasure in exploring state-side grocery stores and discovering all the awesome (and sometimes ridiculous) products that we can’t get in Canada. This trip was a particularly great one for these discoveries.
Upon our arrival, my mum decided she wanted to look for a healthy-ish muffin to satisfy her carb craving. Over to the bakery section we went. Sadly, the only muffins we were able to find were those topped with a larger volume of icing than actual muffin, drizzled with caramel sauce and topped with a bazillion chocolate chips. (So really, these muffins were more like cupcakes.)
While on the quest for this healthy-ish muffin (which we never found) there were also cakes and cupcakes stacked with more tiers of neon coloured icing and other cookie/candy toppers than I’ve ever seen before. I thought about taking photos to show you but figured that they alone might be enough to send you into a sugar coma, so here’s some veggies instead.
We decided to abort the mission for the healthy muffin and my mum decided a granola bar would suffice. Further into the store we walked, where I found a row of kids’ cereal (as in, the sugary frosted kind) that was about double the length of any cereal aisle I’ve seen at home. Also spotted: Oreo Handi-Snacks (like Dunkaroos but with Oreo cookie sticks), Oreo ice cream cones, Chips Ahoy cookies filled with birthday frosting, and so many more things that the 8-year-old me would have loved. Oh how the times have changed!
While it was extremely entertaining to find ridiculously unhealthy products on our Meijer trip, there were also some things I really loved, including:
- Cheaper produce – both conventional and organic, with plenty cut up for people on the go.
- CHERRIES! I know this could fall under the ‘cheaper produce’ category but they deserve a shout out because the ones we found were $2.99/lb, as opposed to the crazy $6.99 or whatever it was I paid last week at home. Needless to say, I pretty much ate my weight in cherries.
- Tuna pouches. For some reason, Canada has not yet caught on to selling single-serve tuna pouches, which are super convenient as a travel-friendly protein source because a) you don’t need a can opener, and b) you don’t need to drain them. At home, even finding tuna with a ring pull-tab is a novelty.
- SO many different kinds of salsa. I suppose it’s because there’s a larger Hispanic population in the US than Canada, but I absolutely loved the huge selection of my favourite sauce. There was everything from mango and tomatillo to black bean and ancho chili, and if I’d had more time I would have bought and tried them all.
When it came to hotel snacks, we were very well-equipped for a healthy trip. My mum, knowing I heart all things fruit and veggie, brought along a knife, a big container and a cooler in her car. We bought baby carrots, a pre-cut veggie platter, salsa, tuna, nuts, crackers, cherries, 2 melons, apples, berries and a bit of other produce that I sliced and diced at the hotel. I also bought a few clamshell containers of mixed greens, washed the lettuce at the hotel, and used the containers as my salad bowls. There were plenty of decadent indulgences at the wedding reception, but as far as clean eating in the hotel goes, we did really well!
So what does today’s recipe have to do with the trip? Well, nothing. But it’s exactly what I was dreaming of on Monday night as I sat in the Chicago airport waiting for my flight back to Vancouver, which was delayed by over 3 hours.
This Edamame and Cucumber Noodle Salad with Creamy Ginger Dressing is yet another one of my current go-to weeknight dinners because it requires zero cooking. Remember how a couple of weeks ago I introduced you to my copycat miso tahini dressing from Whole Foods in a Rainbow Kale Salad recipe? Well I’ve done a little riff on that, this time including some ginger and altering a few other ingredients.
The result was a gorgeous, creamy, silky ginger dressing that’s also vegan and gluten-free. It also happens to sauce up these gorgeous veggies with just enough flavour to make them completely irresistible.
If you don’t have a spiralizer (this is the one I use), don’t you worry. You can totally make the cucumber noodles with a julienne peeler, which is that little orange handled gadget in the photo earlier in this post. I found mine at a local grocery store and it cost me $5. It’s also perfect for julienning carrots, making much easier, more tidy slices than a box grater. As I’ve said before, pretty food just tastes better!
Now it’s over to you. Tell me…
- What are some of your tricks for eating clean while traveling?
- What are the meals you crave the most when you return from a trip?